Wayland college students carry hackathon on-line, take a look at methods to enhance distant studying – The Boston Globe

In a world the place every part appears digital, a gaggle of Wayland college students held a hackathon on over the weekend to assist enhance on-line studying, with concepts contributed from children across the globe.

With the mission set to make distant studying simpler, greater than 80 highschool and center college college students competed nearly in Project Reboot, which began Friday night time and ended Saturday night time.

From their houses throughout the nation and as far-off as India, they constructed web sites and apps to unravel points that they’re confronted with day by day in class.

“I thought that this thing would be more relatable for a lot of students because they’re going through remote learning and I think students themselves know like, ‘Hey this is what I would like to see done differently, and you know this is what I’ll do,’” mentioned Andrew Boyer, president of Wayland High School’s Computer Science Club, which organized the occasion.

More than 20 groups of scholars labored on initiatives that tackled key points, reminiscent of scheduling lessons over the Internet. Some regarded on the challenge of scholars not having their cameras turned on in school, and one other even made a bot that may attend class for you — for individuals who are typically tardy.

First place went to a gaggle from Cambridge and Boston for his or her instrument to assist academics summarize their on-line lessons, second went to a gaggle from California and New Jersey for his or her notice taking software program, and third went to a gaggle from California for his or her interactive studying software program.

The hackathon began Friday night time, with many contributors working all night time lengthy. Submissions had been accepted up till 5 p.m. Saturday.

“Some people stayed up all night to work on it, and I mean it definitely shows with how much people got done,” mentioned Boyer, a junior at Wayland High.

While the COVID-19 pandemic pressured the occasion to be held on-line, the group has additionally held an in-person hackathon in 2019 that targeted on growing applications and software program to assist individuals with disabilities.

This 12 months’s contributors had been additionally given the prospect to attend completely different workshops, reminiscent of studying new methods to make use of Python and JavaScript. The workshops additionally checked out points and issues associated to distant studying.

One of these talks, led by Jackie Herrera, a social employee with Family Access of Newton, regarded on the social inequities of distant studying and the way sure households don’t have entry to the instruments wanted.

Boyer mentioned her speak, which targeted on Latino households, touched on how some college students don’t have entry to laptops for distant studying. With cash left over from this 12 months’s hackathon, the group is considering shopping for elements to construct computer systems for households in want, Boyer mentioned.

And whereas the group continues to be making an attempt to determine the right way to meet in-person, Boyer mentioned the group desires to proceed holding hackathons and different tech occasions that transcend coding.

“We want to keep doing projects that help people,” he mentioned.


Breanne Kovatch may be reached at breanne.kovatch@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @breannekovatch.

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